Things have been hectic here at Media73 HQ so much so we forgot all about Adam King's blog...but here it is in all its glory from the other week!
This weekend I heard a pundit say that most managers know not
to take any notice of league standings until the season is ten games old -
Sunderland played their tenth game of the season this weekend; and endured a
third straight loss whilst extending our winless run to six games. Time for the
warning bells to sound? Time to question the leadership?
There can be no doubt about how much the Internet has significantly changed our world.
Over the years, this man-made, ethereal spider’s web has connected everyone to everything. You can now tour the streets of Paris, read the greatest works of literature, or watch Neville Chamberlain declare “peace in our time” without even leaving your toilet seat, which thanks to the iPhone, is where most people enjoy their wifi-enabled existence.
For better or worse, we now live in an environment of absolute-instance, where everyone’s actions – from Hollywood A-Listers to your neighbour’s cat, can be immediately reached by hundreds of millions of people during our ever-shortening days.
So the dust has now well and truly settled on what can only be described as a ‘transitional’ season, with a remarkable final day capping a stuttering end to the campaign after the initial surge in form under the guidance of Martin O’Neill. As always, the focus once again now turns to close season gossip and conjecture.
For what is seemingly the fourth year in a row, the club are facing a summer of widespread change; and whilst a full scale overhaul may not necessarily be required, the areas of the squad we need to strengthen became painfully plain to see as we limped over the finish line in a disappointing yet fittingly luckless 13th position.
After a relatively quiet summer it seems the great Premier League machine is once more waking from a deep sleep, ready to start roaring again. This time, it seems our roar in particular, will be heard across the globe.
Last week, Ellis Short sat with the BBC to give only his second press interview since taking over in 2008 and what he spoke of was a brighter, more financially-sound Sunderland, using our heritageas a solid foundation to build upon, “to now be sponsored by a big initiative [Invest In Africa] who are backed by some serious companies is a good reflection on us and does indicate that we’ve taken a step up.
Football – it’s a funny old game. It divides friends, families and communities, but also brings them all together as well.
I am a Sunderland fan and have been for 30 years or so, my older brother on the other hand is a Newcastle fan. People often ask why I support Sunderland (Gods Children) when my brother supports Newcastle (great unwashed). Here is the tale from my viewpoint.
I was born in Gateshead, my Dad (also born inGateshead) supports Sunderland but also as was quite common ventured to St James Park to watch football.
It’s a mere ten days before Poland face
Greece to kick-off the Euro 2012 tournament and I wonder: is this competition
an Argos catalogue for the managers with money to spend?
My first thought is “Yes, of course it is”.
The Euro’s is one of the sport’s largest,
most exciting events after the World Cup. Think about it: a continent which is
home to some of the greatest footballing nations in the world (and Croatia),
all going head-to-head, fielding their best players in an attempt to take home
the honour of being crowned as glorious kings of Europe.
Our resident Southerner and stalker extraordinaire, Mark Harrison, went to meet Issue 8 guest editor and star Super Kev in a luxury 5 star hotel in Chelsea where he was staying and preparing for Soccer Aid 2012. He was given an exclusive catch up interview.
MH - How did you get involved in Soccer Aid?
SKP - It all happened quickly. I had planned to go away with the family and a few months back booked a trip based around the chance we might make the play offs and then a few days later I got a phone call out of the blue.
Over the past few seasons it seems that Sunderland and Manchester United have enjoyed somewhat of a mutual respect, which undoubtedly came from putting Roy Keane, and then Steve Bruce, in charge.
So after hearing the great roar that erupted from the stands when United lost, can we expect to enjoy the same“special” relationship? Was there ever one in the first place? And what are the repercussions of this fan-to-fan roasting?
Well, first of all, I think this mild form of favouritism most likely only existed because the previous two managers were Ferguson protégés and will probably follow with them wherever they go.
On the last day of the season a strong North Sea wind swept through the Stadium of Light, clearing out the last debris of what turned out to be a turbulent nine months.
And these winds of change weren’t just blowing on Wearside. They were seemingly present up and down the whole of Britain as Rangers were saved at the twelfth hour; a resurgent Wigan enjoyed asecond wind as the sails of their neighbours hung emptily; and, of course, the mantle of power was carried just beyond the grasp of United’s Old Boys and into the reach of a fresh-faced Manchester City.
As we near the end of another season in the top flight of
English football I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect on what has been
one hell of a rollercoaster ride of a season.
The start of the season was one of hope and optimism. We had
signed a staggering number of players, bringing in a dozen new players to
bolster the squad and push us up the table to new heights. The likes of O’Shea
and Wes Brown were exciting and much needed additions to the defence, while the
likes of Larsson, Gardner and Vaughan were added to the midfield and
expectations were raised further with the signing of one of the country’s
hottest prospects in Connor Wickham, whilst Nicolas Bendtner was also brought
in on loan from Arsenal.
Media73 Ltd is the proud main sponsor of the Nobby Stiles talk in event and fits perfectly with the pending England retro magazine called Sixty6, get yourself a ticket and come and join us...
The Fit for Life Team have joined up with the Gateshead College Foundation to present 'A Night on the Stiles' Sporting Dinner, we will be transforming EAT into a fantastic venue for dinner, drinks and a talk from a true sporting legend, all to raise funds for the Foundation.
On Saturday 16th June World Cup winning legend Nobby Stiles MBE (front left) will be joining us to talk about his glittering career as a Manchester United and England hero.
Thirty nine years ago something truly brilliant happened – League 2 underdogs, Sunderland AFC, dominated and overcame England’s most feared and revered team, “Dirty” Leeds United.
However, three days ago something truly day-to-day happened – aging champions, Chelsea FC, out-huffed and out-puffed Merseyside’s most disillusioned team, Liverpool FC.
In fact, the game was so run of the mill, the most exciting thing for me about it was when my mate suggested we get a sweep-stake going to give the game a bit more edge.
It seems a long time ago now that I was bragging
about how easy life was for Good Cat and how Bad Cat would be heading for the
dole office. Those first 3 months after the arrival of O'Neill were crucial in
securing our safety, and thank God for that purple patch as we have hit the
wall in the past month or two, much as a marathon runner does towards the end
of his race.
I can't blame the effort of indeed much of the performance levels of the team
on Saturday but again we failed to convert chances into goals and it's becoming
a bit like Groundhog Day in terms of having the same comments to make over the
past few weeks.
Moving stadiums is of course a rare occasion with the vast
majority of football clubs and the last game is often a treasured affair, that
is prominent in the fan’s memories for some time to come. Sunderland’s
permanent exodus from Roker Park beckoning in the summer of 1997, of course
meant a final match, which as it happens occurred fifteen years this week, on 3
Although the game to
Everton held massive sentimental importance, arguably even more was riding on
the game in terms of the clubs future, with points vital in the penultimate
game of the season needed to give Sunderland the advantage in the relegation
battle going into the final day away at Wimbledon.
“Johnny Haynes is a top
entertainer and will be paid as one from now on. I will give him £100 a week to
play at Fulham” – former Fulham Chairman and alleged comedian Tommy Trinder.
Area:lying just less
than four miles to the south west of central London, Fulham is what is usually
referred to as a “leafy” and “well-heeled” suburb where you will struggle to
find signs of the economic recession. Although it was once a predominantly
working class area, you’d need a lottery win now if you wanted to buy a garden
shed in this neighbourhood.
As we enter the final few games of the season I was fearing the worst when a relegation battling Bolton turned up, fighting for their lives and on a relatively good run of form, they were always likely to be a tricky opponent. In that respect they were true to form - for the first 15-20 minutes they were the hungriest of the two teams, chasing down and battling for every ball (much as we have become accustomed to seeing from our boys under O'Neill). When they took the lead, it was probably justified and given our problems in front of goal I wasn't overly optimistic for a change.
In this article I wonder: Are players who taunt the opposition with fancy tricks doing so to hide deeper psychological issues?
What prompted this Freudian question was an evening I spent at my mate’s house earlier in the week. We were enjoying a few competitive, (and on my behalf, colour fully-languaged) games of Fifa 12 when we got talking about a spin-off game called Fifa Street, a game that actively rewards you for playing a more flamboyant, tricksy style of football than scoring the goals which actually win the game (or at least that was my impression).
The excitement of the day, the anticipation of a good
result, the pushing through the crowds, the pre match drinks and then the smell
of grass at pitch side.
All of these are the things that make attending a
Sunderland home match so great for me but one of the things I love is the
ongoing fan to fan banter.
Some of the stories I’ve heard being told during a match
have literally had me snorting into my Bovril. It seems all of the people
around me have amazing conversations that at times totally distract me from the
Our resident well travelled blogger gets to play Football manager with Darlo..
I recently got Football Manager for my iPad. I did so for a few reasons but the main one was that I wanted to see who I'd turn out to be. Would I be a Bruce or an O'Neill type of manager?
First I had to decide who to start my managerial career with. The obvious choice would be Sunderland, but I remembered that many of the world's greatest managers start at the bottom and work their way up, building a steady reputation for success as they go and alsoI didn't want to risk the future of our beloved Black Cats if I turned out to be a terrible gaffer.
Bad cat purrs over the trip to Villa park...
After all the recent debate about important refereeing errors, you would think I would know better.
When I stopped jumping about after Bendtner’s “goal” and saw the linesman’s flag, I still naively thought yes, it was tight; he must have been a fraction offside. No, he wasn’t. It wasn’t even close. Not only was the not so Great Dane not level as O’Neill charitably suggested, he had clearly moved from behind the last defender to convert an excellent cross.
Good cat get his claws into the game v the Villians..
Another game, another clean sheet, another blank. There's little doubt that we are drawing towards the end of the season but in fairness against Villa we managed to create plenty of chances and were the better team. We were simply unfotunate to come away with just the one point.
In terms of positives, I thought Colback was outstanding (again) as he continues to improve under the watchful eye of O'Neill. When we sold Henderson last year I was optimistic that Colback would be able to fill the void and infairness I think he has developed into an even better player than Jordan was.
We here at Seventy3' like to reward our readers from time to time with competitions and the like and we've come up trumps again!
As some of you may know, we sponsor David Meyler and he's very kindly donated a signed replica shirt to us as a token of thanks. We scratched our heads and had a think and thought what better way to give something back to a our subscribers than to give them the chance to win it.
There is a catch though - you must take out a £10 subscription with us! Our 5-for-4 subscription ensures you get the latest issue of Seventy3' to your door, all for only a tenner.
There is one obvious link with Saturday's opponents Aston Villa and that is with Darren Bent, or Judas as he is referred to by the majority of Sunderland fans, who shall not play at the weekend due to an injury.
If spotted by the travelling fans at the weekend, Bent is sure to receive a hostile reception. The majority of fans consider him to have quit the club in favour of money, something Bent himself denies. In his defence, I, for one, think there is more behind the sale of Bent than just the fact that £24million is a lot of money.
Baldwin thought Europe was a
bore, and Chamberlain thought it was only a greater Birmingham.
Town:the suburb of Aston
lies a couple of miles of miles to the north-east of Birmingham city centre and
is first mentioned in the Domesday Book, The area underwent significant
post-war redevelopment, the area to the south of the district to this day being
known as “Newtown”,
It is fair to say that the area might not be well known at all were it
not for the football club and the University of Aston which is not in Aston at
With the 2011/12 season dissolving into nothingness, I dwell
on times of past when this stage of the season held some importance. Although
not envious of those altercating with relegation or promotion this campaign,
there was something galvanizing about the rush of an end of season dog fight.
This week in 2007,
under Roy Keane, Sunderland were sixteen games unbeaten in the Coca Cola
Championshp, a run that had seen us jump into the automatic promotion places.
This seemed improbable with us sitting mid table after a 1-0 defeat at home to
Preston on Januray 6th(one of three defeats against Preston that season) Which
left the Black Cats mid table after inconsistent form under Keane, despite a
barrage of deadline day signings.
Goal line technology is back in the headlines again, after
yet another howling gaff by a referee and his assistants. It appears that that
the dinosaurs that govern our once-beautiful game are finally beginning to
accept the inevitable introduction of the much clamoured seeker of truth and
The fact that the equivalent technology is used in tennis,
cricket and rugby without detriment to the game (indeed most would claim it
enhances it) makes you wonder why the authorities have been so against its
After a fantastic second half of the
season, our rekindled flames have turned into slow-burning embers.
The niggling irritation that is the truth
shows us we haven’t won in five. Not for want of trying mind you – our players
have been absolutely titanic in their tenacity and resolve, putting inspiring
amounts of effort into each performance. No, we can’t fault their attitudes one
One possible reason for our recent lack of
points, however, is a consequence of having very few apples to choose from.
Well it appears that we have reached that stage of the
season where our players know the job is done and that we are simply playing
out the remaining fixtures. The performance against Wolves was not great but
not unexpected. We secured another clean sheet which is to be applauded, in
truth they rarely threatened which was a surprise considering their ‘must win
every game’ scenario.
Sunderland had the better chances and Sessegnon was probably
the star of the show, though Mignolet impressed whenever he was called upon.
Anyone that knows me or has read any of my rants or tweets
about Alan Pardew will know I’m not his greatest fan. I find his smugness and
his arrogance nothing short of hideous; even his upper lip is too embarrassed
to be seen in the same place as the vile little man. His touchline antics and
disgraceful language aimed towards Martin O’Neill and his staff, did nothing more
than to heighten my dislike for the man.
I guess in some ways I should be grateful that they have
such an easy to hate figurehead in charge of their team.
I have a confession to make. I'm not
proud of it, I won't say it louder than a mumbled whisper, but I admit
nonetheless.... I feel a bit sorry for Steve Bruce. Or at least I DID, until he
opened his yet mouth again.
Why do I have any sympathy you ask?
Mainly because when the pressure mounted and he needed a tiny bit of luck or
fairness he got the very opposite in spades, the culmination of which came in
THAT game at home to his ex-employers Wigan Athletic. Yes, we were hopeless
that day but a 'never in a million years' penalty being given against us
followed almost inevitably by Wes Brown falling over his own feet to concede a
last minute winner was pretty much the worst thing that could have happened to
Bruce in the worst place, at the worst time.
I was recently in Boston for the day on
business. Essentially it’s like a smaller, cleaner, more classical version of
New York, which is probably a result of being only a stone’s throw from the
great Harvard University.
Yes, New England is a wonderful place and
fittingly a lot like Olde England (but with less tea). The main difference I
noticed was that, even though it’s a mere 70 minute flight North of New York
(relatively short by US standards) the culture, accent, and attitude is a whole
The cup dream is finally over, the
derby games are both out of the way for another season and Premier League
safety is assured refreshingly early. With the dust finally settling on what
has been a roller coaster few months even by Sunderland standards, it's a
fitting time to pause for breath and look to the season’s final straight whilst
asking what else is to come in the remainder of Sunderland’s football year.
If I had told you on 30th November,
as a certain Stephen Roger Bruce cleared his desk and left the academy of light
for the last time, that four short months later we would be disappointed in
taking a mere 4 points from Manchester City and crestfallen at only reaching
the quarter finals of the FA Cup, you would have been forgiven for slapping me
so hard I’d be left with a nose to match that of our now former manager.
You often hear pundits arguing which is the greatest league
in the world. Is it the English Premier League or the Primera Liga in Spain?
Some might even argue that it is the German Bundesliga or the Italian Serie A.
More often than not however, the pundits will insist that our EPL deserves the
plaudits (biased or otherwise), with the emphasis being that the EPL is more
competitive and that any team can win on any given day.
Personally, I’m not so sure. I think it’s an easy put down
to make and typical of our lazy pundits and journalists to simply regurgitate
the usual monotonous diatribe without having to use their brains to justify
apologies for being a little late with this week’s review but having replayed
the game several times in my head it has taken me this long to realise that the
game was actually real. What a game and what a performance from the lads.
was a stark contrast to the Sunderland team that turned up against Everton. All
the lethargy and sloppiness that we saw during that disastrous exit from the FA
Cup was replaced by a vibrancy and a freeness that saw our shackles well
and truly shed – resulting in a thoroughly entertaining and at times unplayable
City:Manchester became a city in 1853 powered by textile manufacture and, much as it
vies now with Birmingham for the title of Britain’s second city at least
economically, could also lay claim to be Britain’s most industrialised city.
population made up of about one fifth of Greater Manchester’s 2.5 million, the
conurbation has significantly grown to all but blur the boundaries between
itself and neighbours Rochdale, Bury and Oldham.
industrial and cosmopolitan heritage is visible today through the fine
Victorian architecture and Chinese and gay city centre enclaves.
As I slumped down the other night in my chair having just returned from what seemed like a lingering journey home
from one of my most disappointing nights as a Sunderland fan, it lead me to ponder.
through worse times granted, but on Tuesday night there was a sense of belief. We were a
solitary game away from Wembley. The Sunderland faithful after many years of
mediocrity at best, could feel like the club had really accomplished something. But, Sunderland being Sunderland, we messed up a chance we rarely get.
Well that was not pleasant viewing, even for the most
optimistic of felines like myself. We simply did not turn up last night, second
to the ball, touch of a donkey, errant passing – and not just from one or two
individuals, ths was a poor performance from the entire team.
After so much excitement and expectation it was the
inevitable disappointment that seems to turn up at the most inopportune of
moments for all Sunderland fans, almost without fail. However, even from the
shambolic performance of last night we must glean a glimmer of hope.
Traveling on the New York City Subway is
quite an experience. Especially at, what is arguably, its busiest of hour:
Saturday lunchtime. It is at this time when the excited masses, that
undoubtedly represent each of the five boroughs (Harlem, Brooklyn, Queens, The
Bronx and Manhattan), all rush into the City to spend their hard earned dollar
on whatever it is that interests them: fashion, art, books, food, and all sorts
of other various, and sometimes strange, things.
This mass pilgrimage to the shopping
capital of this wonderfully consumerist USA is very much like match day back
After last weeks’ horror show performance, this was a chance
for the lads to put the world to rights and prove that it was nothing more than
a minor blip on the club’s march to world dominance. Thankfully they did not
let us down, and everyone that stepped onto the pitch, did so with a steely
intent that they wanted to prove their place in Tuesday’s FA Cup showdown.
On paper, this was likely to be a close affair with QPR
battling for survival and on a high following their remarkable comeback victory
over Liverpool in their previous game.
Three former Sunderland players return to the Stadium of
Light for the first time since leaving with Anton Ferdinand, Nedum Onouha and
Djibril Cisse all likely to be part of the Queens Park Rangers squad, while
another ex-red and white star in the shape of Tommy Smith could also play some
One, of course, has already pulled on the colours of both
clubs this season. Ferdinand was offloaded by former boss Steve Bruce at the
end of the summer transfer window despite starting the season as the first
choice centre-back at Sunderland alongside Wes Brown.
It is in my nature to be a positive soul, to put some
perspective on things, during the ‘bad times’. Fact of the matter is that since
the arrival of O’Neill there have been precious little in the way of bad times
(with the exception of WBA and now Blackburn).
Why then do so many ‘fans’ seem to think the end of the
world is upon us? One poor performance, and all of a sudden we are a club in
crisis. Some of the people that have been spouting their tripe on Twitter,
Facebook and message boards need to give their heads a shake.
both revered idols and scrutinised villains of the modern sporting age. They
are lamented by followers of the game and otherwise as overpaid and are very
often disgraced on a large public scale with public and private scandals
emerging frequently. In recent months this has been more evident than ever.
Instead of tabloid sex confessions and sordid granny prostitute scandals that
had been of late; the game has of recent digressed to an even more contentious
issue, with two of the Premier League giant clubs and most well-known players
being central to two separate allegedly racially motivated abusive incidents.
Seventy3 Magazine columnist Micky Gray is one of only a
handful of players to have pulled on the colours of both Sunderland and
Blackburn Rovers, his name sitting alongside fellow former red and white stars
Dwight Yorke, Steve Agnew and Kevin Arnott amongst others.
Gray, who captained home town club Sunderland during his 12
years at Roker Park and the Stadium of Light, was allowed to join Blackburn on
a free transfer in January 2004 following relegation from the Premier League
and helped Rovers qualify for European football in the UEFA Cup during a
three-year spell at Ewood Park.
I was recently invited, by an artist-friend
I’m helping out, to attend something called The Landmark Forum.
Speaking in the most simplest of terms, The
Landmark Forum is a motivational, self-improvement course that aims to help you
realise that all your problems are self-created and, therefore, not really
problems at all, so you can then focus on creating an improved future for
This may sound very American, and it is,
but watching the Forum speakers on-stage made me think that this must be very
similar to what a football manager has to do to get the most out of his team.
the news today, oh boy. 4000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire”.
in the Life”–
Lennon and McCartney
Town: it’s not Las Vegas, especially on a
Tuesday night. A traditional mill town in East Lancashire, Blackburn has a
population of just over 100,000. It has the feel of a smaller town than its
size and an identity distinct from its big neighbour Manchester which is 27
such places which prospered in the industrial revolution, payback in recent
decades has been severe and evidence of economic decline is not hard to find.
The fact that we have survived a trip to Goodison without
falling to defeat is cause for celebration in itself. The fact that we now have
the opportunity to bring them back to the SoL, which is becoming a fortress
since the arrival of Martin O’Neill is cause for cautious optimism.
On paper, this was always going to be a tight affair, the
records of both teams were virtually identical this season, as was the style of
play, quality of personnel and management.
The opening 20 minutes was as good as I have witnessed for
quite some time from the lads.
Peter Reid, guest editor of the Issue 8 of Seventy 3
(available for purchase now), is the most significant connection between
Everton and Sunderland. After all, the lyrics of the infamous song tell it all:
"We once thought of you as a Scouser dressed in blue, but now you're red
and white through and through".
Reid was our saviour. The man who formed part of an
Everton side that dominated in the 1980s arrived in the north east in 1995 and
prevented an unthinkable relegation from the second tier of English football
following his appointment.
After moving to London for university, I sometimes wonder
what the advantages were: of course the capital offers fantastic scenery, great
clubs and, most importantly, the off chance of catching a glimpse of a Z-List
celeb in Oxford Street’s Topshop.
However, there is no doubt in my mind that what this city
lacks is a passion for football that comes anywhere near the immensity
portrayed in last weekend’s Tyne-Wear derby. Yes, London is home to an array of
world class stadia, ranging from the Emirates to Wembley, but what happens in
the stands of those arenas verges on the embarrassing.
Although I did write regarding the
FA Cup Quarter Final in last weeks edition of ‘ This Week On Wearside’, Sunderland fans have conversed in little aside from the forthcoming tie at
Everton, so perhaps another dose of FA Cup nostalgia is in order.
On Saturday there will be no need to look
at past glories, but to tide us over there is no harm in pondering on in the
mean time. 1992 was almost certainly our less acclaimed FA Cup Final appearance
as a 2nd Division side (Championship) - nevertheless getting to the
concluding round of the tournament especially as a second tier side was still a
marvellous achievement, and the journey to Wembley is still prominent in the
memories of Sunderland fans.